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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

ALBINO KILLINGS: Obama asked to put pressure on Kikwete

Mariamu Stanford talking to a journalist

An American Congressman wants President Barack Obama to put diplomatic pressure on the Kikwete Government to end the albino killings in parts of the country...

The American politician is using the opportunity to raise international attention on the menace in Tanzania, in which over 50 albinos have been killed in the last four years in an orgy fuelled by witchcraft-related beliefs. Some 28 albinos were slaughtered in 2008 alone, according to official government figures...

During her stay in the US, Mariamu and fellow albinos from Northern Virginia met with Mr Connolly, who pledged to introduce a House Resolution, condemning the attacks on people with albinism in East Africa, and to work with American and Tanzanian government officials to stop the killings.

Mariamu travelled to the US last December for two weeks and was fitted with artificial arms donated by Mr Elliot Weintrob of Orthotic Prosthetic Centre in Fairfax, Virginia, and she also underwent intensive physical therapy.

She also met Ms Susan DuBois, who has since formed an organisation in her name and dedicated it to ending the slaughter of people with albinism in East Africa.

The "Asante Mariam" organisation launched in Virginia last week will campaign to increase awareness of the immediate and long-term threats to albinos East Africa.

"As a mother of two children with albinism, I was deeply shaken when I first heard about the killings in Tanzania," said Ms DuBois, the founder and executive director of "Asante Mariamu."

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